physics posts on CNET

physics

See physicist surprised by news his Big Bang theory was right

Physicists on Monday revealed a major discovery in our understanding of how everything got started by spotting gravitational waves that can be traced back to the exponential expansion that occurred in the fractions of a second after the Big Bang.

These ripples in space-time back up a theory of cosmic inflation developed by physicists Alan Guth and Andrei Linde in the early 1980s. Linde is now a professor at Stanford and could not hide his excitement when he first learned of the discovery from his colleagues.… Read more

Evidence of the Big Bang found in a cosmic 'double rainbow'

While you were thinking about where you'll be spending St. Patrick's Day on Monday night, the hard-working folks at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics were sharing the first direct evidence of a concept first put forward by Albert Einstein almost a century ago that helps explain where we -- and everything else in the universe -- come from.

If your list of to-dos and projects doesn't suddenly seem a little less impressive by comparsion, then congratulations! You're a narcissist.

If you want to cut right to it, scientists have spotted the remnants of the until-now-theorized massive, mind-melting exponential expansion of the universe that occurred in the one trillionth of a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. This evidence comes in the form of gravitational waves that Einstein predicted back in 1916 as part of his theory of general relativity.… Read more

Stephen Hawking declares: 'There are no black holes'

Wait, so my life may not have disappeared down a black hole after all?

There is a chance for it to emerge and bloom like the career of David Hasselhoff?

It's charming when a phrase enters the language and we think we all know what it means. In the case of "black hole," we think of an infinity of black nothingness that swallows everything that slips into it.

But now, in a new paper called "Information Preservation and Weather Forecasting for Black Holes," Stephen Hawking has cast the cat among the black, holey pigeons and caused a scattering of incomprehension.… Read more

Are we in the Matrix? Science looks for signs we're not real

Over the years, some science fiction has popularized the notion that our world might not be what it seems -- that we might all be living in the Matrix (to use perhaps the most well-known version of the concept).

In the past decade, philosophers and physicists have started to take the idea a bit more seriously, led by philosopher Nick Bostrom, who first published his paper "Are You Living in a Computer Simulation?" in Philosophical Quarterly in 2003. Basically, Bostrom argues that the exponential growth of computing power seems to indicate that one day we'll be able to create a digital simulation of our entire universe. There's also no reason to think multiple simulations wouldn't be created once the capability is there.

So...we're either living in the only real universe just on the verge of being able to create a simulation of its historical self, or we're in one of what could be a multitude of computer simulations. When we look at it this way, it would almost seem that the existential odds are against our actually existing.… Read more

Moves tracks your every move to measure your daily physical activity

Moves is yet another way for people to track how active they are. The app isn't new; it originally launched in December 2012, and, at the time, it was a radical idea. Moves required a user to carry his or her iPhone at all times, and it would magically track and count steps.

Fast forward to today, when Apple has included the M7 chip in the iPhone 5S, with its sole purpose being to track the movement of the device. Moves was recently updated to take advantage of this addition to the iOS hardware, and the price went from … Read more

Why open a huge new record store in 2013?

I know, times being what they are for the music business, it seems like a crazy, even contrarian thing to do. But Rough Trade just opened a 15,000-square-foot record store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in New York. The store only sells new CDs and LPs, no used stuff, along with various music-related merch like books and magazines.

Rough Trade NYC is a big, wide-open, converted warehouse space -- it feels like it's been there for a long, long time. Rough Trade has a similar, but much smaller, shop in London, which opened in 2007, and it's doing fine. … Read more

Stephen Hawking: God particle discovery disappointing

I was immersed in learning that Lady Gaga doesn't care that Madonna doesn't like her when I had this thought: "Physics doesn't seem that interesting anymore."

No sooner had this vexing notion entered (and exited) my head than I learned I was not alone. For famed physicist Stephen Hawking feels the same way.

Speaking at London's Science Museum, Hawking lamented the discovery of the so-called God particle.… Read more

MIT 'Anklebot' gauges joint stiffness to improve rehab

The ankle is something of an anatomical puzzle.

"Imagine you have a collection of pebbles, and you wrap a whole bunch of elastic bands around them," Neville Hogan, a mechanical engineering professor at MIT, said in a school news report. "That's pretty much a description of what the ankle is. It's nowhere near a simple joint from a kinematics standpoint."

So Hogan teamed up with colleagues at MIT's Newman Laboratory for Biomechanics and Human Rehabilitation to test Anklebot, a robot that uses electrodes to record the torque and angular displacement at the joint and calculate stiffness in various directions.

To do this, the bot is mounted to a knee brace that is in turn connected to a custom shoe, and Anklebot… Read more

Higgs boson theory nets Nobel for pair of physicists

After nearly five decades of research to confirm their theory, Francois Englert and Peter Higgs were awarded the Nobel Prize for physics on Tuesday for work that led to last year's discovery of the Higgs boson.

The Nobel Prize committee named the winners "for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributed to the understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles," said Staffan Normark, permanent secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, at a news conference.

The Higgs boson is considered evidence of a pervasive field called the Higgs field that endows other particles … Read more

Angry Birds Star Wars II dives into the prequel trilogy

Angry Birds Star Wars II (iOS|Android) is a sequel that continues the "Star Wars" theme as you fling birds at evil pigs, but this time the game explores the prequel movies, with new birds like Jango Fett, a young Obi-Wan Kenobi, and even characters from the "Pork Side." Whether you're playing for good or evil, this installment has all the same mechanics as the rest of the games in the franchise, but instead of getting boring or repetitive, it still manages to be fun.

By now just about everyone has played or seen Angry … Read more